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'Learning to speak up is part of nurse training - it's part of being a nurse'

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If you’re a student nurse, then you definitely need to be able to speak out safely if you have concerns about patient care.

Students can bring a fresh perspective to the care they observe while on placement, and as such their input is invaluable.

While we have been researching our Speak Out Safely campaign, I have met several student nurses who feel they are listened to and asked for input. Often they said that the qualified nurses they worked with enjoyed being able to find out the latest clinical thinking or evidence base on a topic. They felt that their input wasn’t just listened to, it was embraced and welcomed and encouraged.

That’s not always the case with students. Several have told us that they worry about raising concerns and that when they have, they have been ignored or belittled.

Since March 2013 we’ve been running the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign. The aim is to ask all NHS trusts and private organisations to pledge openly that they will listen to genuine patient safety concerns raised by staff and act on them.

This week, we are switching our focus to students. We want all students to encourage their universities – and their placements – if they haven’t done so already to sign up and give their support to Nursing Times Speak Out Safely.

So students, become enthusiastic ambassadors of Speak out Safely, and ask why your universities and organisations have not yet made their public commitment. You can check if they have by going to

Gathering feedback, insight and views from student nurses is a valuable check for the health service, and something that is essential. In addition, listening to students sends a clear message that speaking up is part of their training – it’s part of being a nurse. It’s not something you do as an extra – it’s core to the job.

That’s why we believe it is important that every university and organisation offering placements sends this clear message to students that they want to hear from them if they have concerns.

So sign up today at

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Emma Corbett

    On my very first day of my first ever placement as a first year student nurse, I raised a concern over patient safety. I still feel awkward now around the person who's practice I questioned and I am now coming to an end of my first year! However, I'm glad I raised my concern. After reading a few of your articles I have just emailed my placement hospital asking then to join your SOS campaign :)

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